Eco-friendly living is no longer a new or complex concept.
With more people becoming concerned about the impact they leave on the environment, it’s easier than ever to find eco-friendly ideas you can easily implement, no matter who (or where) you are.
Eco-Friendly Living Ideas for Home, Work, School, and More
Minimizing your impact on the environment means understanding all the small, simple steps you can take to make a difference.
Here are 100 ideas for a more sustainable lifestyle which are easy to implement:
1. Research Innovations
To start out living a more sustainable life, research the technologies leading the way and learn how they work.
2. Research Sustainable Companies
Know which companies lead the way in sustainability so you can buy from them. Check to see which companies rank in the top 100 sustainable businesses.
3. Get an Energy Audit
An energy audit will tell you which appliances and systems could be more efficient once modified or upgraded.
4. Set Goals
See how effective you can be at implementing eco-friendly living ideas by setting goals. Try to reduce your utility bills and see how many long-term changes you can make.
5. Make it a Family Effort
Get everyone in the house involved in your goals. The more people contributing, the easier it is to achieve, and the better it is for the environment.
With the average person generating four pounds of trash per day, a bi-weekly meeting at your local recycling center is one of the top eco-friendly changes you can make.
7. Change Your Route
Try to organize your route so you don’t backtrack and spend longer on the road than necessary, decreasing your overall vehicle emissions.
8. Consider a Hybrid
9. Ride the Bus
Even if it’s not a hybrid, one bus on the road can be better than dozens of cars in terms of emissions. Alternatively, choose one of these environmentally friendly transportation options.
10. Ride a Bike
Riding a bike isn’t just good exercise – it’s a perfect way to get where you’re going without carbon emissions.
11. Consider Walking
If your destination isn’t too far off, consider walking. You’ll burn some calories, get some fresh air, and help the environment.
12. Buy Second-Hand Clothes
Designer clothes require both materials and energy consumption to be created. Consider buying second-hand. You’ll save money, too.
13. Take the 333 Challenge
To keep your clothes shopping under control, take the 333 challenge – try wearing only 33 items for three months. You will be surprised at how many old items you can make use of.
14. Make Your Clothes Last Longer
The longer your clothing lasts, the less you’ll have to buy. Tips include purchasing quality pieces, using stain-remover pens so you can wash less, and avoiding dry cleaning. Don’t forget to store clothes in a cool, dry environment.
15. Buy from Outlets Offering Repairs
Some dedicated clothing outlets offer a repair option. This allows you to get damaged clothes sewn and patched, so you don’t have to buy new ones.
16. Use Less Detergent
Another tip to make clothes last longer includes using less detergent. Another perk of this is that it reduces the demand for chemicals like ethanol.
17. Wash Clothes by Hand
Don’t have a full load? Skip the laundromat and hand-wash instead. You’ll save money, electricity, and water.
18. Use a Pedal-Powered Washer
If you want a washer that consumes less energy, get a pedal-powered model. They’re perfect for small loads and can be used everywhere.
19. Dry Clothes Outside
The average dryer uses 3.3-kilowatt hours of energy. As an alternative to dry your wet clothes, get a clothesline, and let nature do the work.
20. Reuse Old Clothes
Sustainable living ideas are about reusing materials when possible. Old clothes could be reused as material for new clothes, or even as cleaning rags to substitute for paper towels.
21. Stop Buying Bottled Water
A liter of water can contain over 10 plastic particles. Instead of buying bottles or jugs, get a water filter to turn your tap water into safe, healthy drinking water. And if you’re looking for an healthy, eco-friendly bottle, read our guide to find the best option for you.
22. Turn Off Water While Brushing Your Teeth
Next time you brush your teeth, try to turn off the water unless you’re rinsing your brush or filling your cup.
23. Turn Off Water While Doing Dishes
Unless you are rinsing cookware or utensils, or wetting your sponge, make sure you turn the water off while doing dishes.
24. Get a Low-Flow Showerhead
You can save about a gallon per minute with a low-flow showerhead, which could help you conserve thousands of gallons of water per year.
25. Get a Low-Flow Faucets
26. Get a Low-Flow Hose Head
Depending on how much you use your hose for gardening or other outdoor activities, you could save hundreds or even thousands of gallons per year by using a low-flow hose head.
27. Get Soil-Sensing Lawn Sprinklers
These sprinklers won’t turn on if the soil is moist enough. You’ll save water and won’t drown your lawn.
28. Wash Your Driveway Carefully
Use a pressure washer, not a hose. It can blow away more debris with less water.
29. Be Smart When Washing Your Car
Be swift when washing your car. If you feel you’re using the hose too much, consider turning it off as you soap up your car or visit an automatic car wash.
30. Turn Off Lights When Not in Use
When you leave a room, even for a short time, turn the lights off to save on electricity (and bulbs).
31. Use Fewer Lights When Possible
If you can get by with one light instead of two, do it.
32. Unplug Devices at Night
Off doesn’t mean not drawing power. If it isn’t charging at night, turn it off.
33. Switch to Eco-Friendly Bulbs
34. Use Low-Power Mode on Displays
Don’t need that extra brightness to see? Switch to low-power mode on phones and computers.
35. Run One Display When Possible
If you don’t need to run two monitors, or your computer and phone simultaneously, don’t.
36. Minimize Outdoor Lights
Use outdoor lights only for safety, such as around entry points and areas where security cameras are recording.
37. Use Natural Lights Indoors
On sunny days, turn off the lights, open the curtains, and let nature illuminate the room.
38. Color Roofs Based on Climate
Dark attracts heat, light reflects it. You can control how much heat enters your house, and your energy use accordingly, by coloring your roof appropriately.
39. Use a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats keep your home at an ideal temperature, so you don’t run your HVAC when you don’t have to.
40. Insulate Windows
Window insulation keeps the cold and heat out, so your HVAC system doesn’t have to compete against nature.
41. Use Curtains to Control UV Rays
Black curtains are another tool helpful for controlling sunlight and stopping a room from getting too hot.
42. Clean Ducts and Vents
The less debris your system must push air through, the less energy it will consume.
43. Replace HVAC Systems Regularly
Younger systems operate more efficiently. Replace them after 10-15 years for the best results.
44. Go Paperless for Receipts
Always opt for digital receipts when possible, as it will save a lot of paper.
45. Take Notes on Tablets
Whether at work or school, take notes on tablets instead of paper.
46. Get Electronic Notifications
Bill reminders and other notifications can be received online to reduce paper consumption.
47. Send Emails, Not Letters
Emails are easier to write, faster, and less burdensome on the environment.
48. Scan Paperwork for Future Use
Scan documents so you can have them when necessary. This also allows you to print as needed, instead of having to keep multiple copies on hand.
49. Collect Scraps for Recycling
Beyond just regular recycling, paper scraps can be recycled and reused to create new sheets and other products.
50. Put Computers to Sleep
Some work computers need to be on for business purposes, but they can be put to sleep when not in use.
51. Print Scarcely
Unless you absolutely need to print a paper copy, refrain and keep it digital.
52. Double-Side Print When Possible
If you must print, try to go double-sided when possible to save on paper.
53. Work Remotely When Possible
Working remotely can reduce carbon emissions, electricity costs, and water usage.
54. Conduct Remote Meetings
If you can’t work remotely, you can at least host meetings that way – use voice chat and screen sharing for more efficient communication.
55. Do More in In-Person Meetings
If you must meet in person, try to do more during each one. Three big meetings are more sustainable than ten small ones.
56. Shop with Reusable Bags
57. Get Plastic-Free Packaging
Buy products with less plastic on them. That wrapping isn’t always necessary.
58. Bring Your Own Containers to the Deli
You can also bring reusable containers, especially when buying from the deli.
59. Buy from Farmer’s Markets
Farmer’s markets are usually built around green living ideas. You can find food and products created in areas that focus on sustainability.
60. Buy More When You’re Out
Don’t hoard, but buy more on each trip. The less you have to travel out, the better it is on the environment.
61. Grow Food
You can save money and reduce waste by simply growing your own food, even in small amounts.
62. Get a Rooftop Garden
A roof garden can help attract sunlight to, and improve air quality around any building.
63. Get a Lawn Pond
Lawn ponds hydrate your lawn after a good rain, and the evaporating moisture can also keep your home cool without AC.
64. Get Indoor Plants
Indoor plants offer many benefits, including toxin removal and more humidity. They’re also eco-friendly decorations.
65. Use Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are comfortable for your little one, and they are more sustainable than polymers and polyethylene.
66. Use Plastic-Free Bottles
A metal bottle can last longer and have a smaller burden on the environment.
67. Get Second-Hand Toys
Having to build new toys takes material and energy. Buy them second-hand instead.
68. Use a Natural Rubber Pacifier
Natural rubbers are easier on the environment while still helping your little one relax.
69. Try Natural Diaper Balm
Natural balm, like coconut oil, can soothe your baby after a diaper change and protect the environment.
70. Get Juice from Fruits and Vegetables
Instead of buying juice, get it from the fruits and vegetables you slice.
71. Reuse Glass Jars
Glass jars can easily be cleaned and reused.
72. Use Reusable Straws
Save plastic by getting eco-friendly straws you can clean and reuse.
73. Buy Energy-Saving Appliances
Look for Energy-Star certified appliances for your kitchen and laundry room.
74. Avoid K-Cups
K-Cups generate a tremendous amount of waste. Buy biodegradable coffee pods or buy coffee in a can or make your own.
75. Use a Dishwasher
The average Energy-Star dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle – unless you can wash dishes in three minutes or less, it’s more efficient.
76. Start Composting
Composting can help you cut back on waste quickly and keep your kitchen cleaner.
77. Cut Back on Makeup
From powders to sponges, every little bit you save can reduce consumption levels. Buy eco-friendly makeup.
78. Avoid Soap and Shampoo in Bottles
Buy soap bars, not bottles – you’ll save plastic, and they’re easier to use.
79. Buy Bigger Bottles
If you must buy bottles, buy bigger ones. One big one is better than five little ones.
80. Avoid Toxic Chemicals
Buy green and organic personal care products to avoid VOCs.
81. Use Handkerchiefs
Handkerchiefs are reusable and create much less waste than tissues.
82. Invest in Wood/Tile Floors
These floors can be swept rather than mopped or vacuumed, saving water and power.
83. Use Recycled Wallpaper
Recycled wallpaper looks the part and helps save trees.
84. Use Recycled Curtains
Even your windows can be made more sustainable with recycled curtains.
85. Buy Second-Hand Furniture
The less wood and metal required to make furniture, the more sustainable your home will be.
86. Invest in a Geothermal Pump
This pump provides energy with a lower environmental burden by using the ground as a heat exchange.
87. Use a Recycled Roof
Tiles, shingles, planks, and sheets can all be recycled to make your roof durable and sustainable.
88. Put Solar Panels on the Roof
Turn your roof into a reliable power source for your entire home.
89. Vacuum Less
Sweep carpets first before vacuuming so you can run it for shorter periods of time.
90. Use a Sprayer Mop
Sprayer mops help you avoid having to run buckets of water to mop.
91. Wash Windows from Top to Bottom
Washing windows from top to bottom helps you avoid having to redo parts, thus saving you water and cleaning solution.
92. Open Windows While Cleaning
Avoid having to use paper towels for drying surfaces by opening windows and letting nature do it for you.
93. Avoid VOCs in Cleaning Products
Avoid cleaning products with alcohol, ethylene, and other dangerous chemicals that could get into the air. Here are some safe cleaning products.
94. Go Digital at School
If the teacher allows it, use a laptop or tablet instead of paper and pencil at school.
95. Get Reusable Containers in Lunchboxes
When packing a lunch, get reusable containers to carry food in.
96. Carpool to College Classes
If you want to know how to be more eco-friendly in college, try carpooling if you have a similar schedule to your classmates.
97. Reuse Gift Boxes
Get a gift that comes in a box? Save the box and reuse it – they’re the gifts that keep on giving.
98. Give Experiences
Take someone on a trip rather than giving them a material gift that requires resources to make.
99. Create Digital Cards
Digital cards are eco-friendly and can be more engaging than paper ones.
100. Bake Cakes, Don’t Buy
Make a tasty treat more personal by baking it, not buying it. You could also save money and resources.
Put Eco-Friendly Living Ideas into Motion
Eco-friendly living starts with you. No matter where you live, what you do, or what you have at your disposal, you can do your part to have a smaller environmental impact.
There are literally dozens of ways we can treat our planet a little better and reduce our carbon footprint.
With smart decision making and reliable information resources, it’s easier to make sustainability something we can all enjoy and take part in.
Curious about what else you can do as a working professional or business owner? Then check out these 35 additional tips!